Logan hadn't even been back in the world of the living for more than two months and already a Fury was trying to throw him into the deep end of the pool.
It wasn't even the one he'd known the longest either.
It was the son of the man he once knew. And because of that, and that only, was why Logan had endured the long stretch of highway to sit in a small, freezing office to be briefed on the next piece of trash he'd probably have to deal with later anyway.
From everything he was being told, the case was right up his alley.
A group of young people had been going missing around the back roads of Western Virginia. Some were found, but never alive. and always missing a part of themselves. Completely devoured. Any and all predatory animals were ruled out, as boot prints were found on some of the scenes of the murders. And because the way the bodies were fed on was far too meticulous. Like a person eating a steak or a full course meal for that matter.
"We considered whatever it is that's doing this to possibly be a Wendigo. But eyewitness reports have been saying that this thing is amphibian or some kinda' extraterrestrial reptile. Oh, and it also rocks a leather overcoat."
"Yeah. Tan, big and tall. I'm guessing they're using it as a way to blend in."
"To hunt," Logan said. He stroked the rough patch of stubble beneath his chin as his brain went into 'Big Game Hunter mode.' "When do you want me in Virginia?"
"If it were up to me you'd be on the first thing smoking, but at the moment I actually have something else you can help me deal with here in the mean time."
Logan looked into the young man's face. The same face that, in some lighting; did show bits of the Fury Logan had once fought side by side with on numerous occasions.
The same Fury Logan had sworn an unspoken oath to. To look after the man his friends son had become.
And he said, "Yeah? And what exactly is that?"
"Oh, I think you're going to enjoy this Logan. It's your old friends from the land of the risen sun."
Logan grimaced in disgust as he caught the gist.
A group of men and women clad in red stand in a perfect circle, watching intensely as the two combatants within it's core fought with the tenacity of a wounded fox. Bones crunched and blood flew, as both fighters laid into the other with the intent to maim. But most importantly with the intent to win. For the one that stood in triumph at the end, was the one whom would be able to dawn the full regalia of the hand. Then they would be killed; only to be reborn as something else. Something more.
One of the warriors was a small, almost weak and feeble looking boy of no older than seventeen. The other was a full grown man. Large and broad chested, possessed of great physical strength. Despite this, the boy remained on his feet. And his own strikes were surprisingly just as damaging as those of the giant he battled.
"Ugh!" The man grunted as the young boy sprang forward with cat like speed and hit him center mass with a flying knee. However after the boy connected the man retaliated, a powerful overhand right that connected with the right side of the boys skull.
The warehouse where the meeting took place echoed with the sound of the hit, the boys head was sent forcibly to the left, knocking him off balance. Seeing an opportunity, the man shot forward with a front kick aimed at the boys chest. The goal, was to fracture the boys sternum, but before he could bring his foot on target the boy reacted, catching the mans leg under his left shoulder, then bringing his elbow from the right crashing down on the man's knee.
The man's leg folded in like a retractable chair. The break sending an explosion of torturous sensation through the man's pain receptors.
It was done. He could fight no more.
Standing over him now, the boy could see the results of his good work. The once strong warrior the boy had been pitted against, had now been reduced to a broken, weak thing. No longer worthy of his attentions. The boy bowed at the man, and turned to leave the arena.
"Why have you not finished the fight?"
The voice stopped the boy cold in his tracks. Turning his muscles into Jello and his blood into ice.
The boy saw a group of Hand shinobi part like the Red Sea at the command of Moses.
Then he heard footsteps on wood as the visage of the Gorgon appeared before him. Stopping to take in the sight of the boy whom quickly bowed.
"Hai! Master I have defeated him. He is finished!"
"Is that so?" Gorgon asked. Leaning past the boy's shoulder's ever slightly to see the man groaning and rolling on the floor in agony. "Then why does he still live?"
Walking past the boy Gorgon grabbed the man from the ground by his throat, with one solid grip. Then casually broke the man's neck with a simple squeeze. The sound causing the boy's eye's to twitch slightly. "Now he is finished."
Gorgon focused on the boy completely once more. The air in the room filled with a dangerous intensity.
"Weakness will not be tolerated." The boy bowed. This time far more confidently. The Hand had chosen him, Gorgon had now purged the weak from their midst, and the boy would now get his chance to be reborn.
""I understand master," The boy smiled proudly and said "I am ready to die. To become a new creation."
"Are you now?"
Removing the cloth that had been partially concealing his face, as his abilities made it impossible not to do so; the Gorgon peered into the boys eyes, his gaze transforming the chunin into a statue made of dull grey stone.
Then with blurring speed, brought his right hand down upon him in a chopping motion, reducing the young fighter to rubble.
"Dispose of them."
TO BE CONTINUED.